MRJ number
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Vellum, 11.125 x 7.75, ff. 156 + 2, double columns of various numbers of lines: several columns.  14th and 13th cent., in good English hands.  Rough skin over boards.

Donor, T. Baker.                                                                               Wagstaff, 3473.

From Syon Monastery.  On the cover is a label, under horn, inscribed :

 Tractatus de mundi creacione usque ad Noe.  Mappa mundi.  Imago mundi.  De mirab(i)libus mundi.  Cronica fratris Martini penitenciarii pape.  Cronica breuis de diuersis bellis et gestis.  2 fo. duo fuerunt.


The book is entered under K. 28 in the Syon Catalogue, edited by Miss Bateson, see    p. xviii.

There is an old foliation showing that 24 leaves originally preceded the present f. 1.

Collation : 2 flyleaves, 114 (wants 1, 2) | 28 (wants 8) 38 48 (+ 1) 510 (wants 1) 62 78 814 912 (11 canc.) 1010 (+ 2 slips) 1110 1210 (+ 2 slips) 1310 (+ 1) 146 (wants 5) | 158 1610 | 1710.

On the flyleaf a note by T. Baker:

Est idem liber qui citatur in Fasciculo edito ab Ed. Browne qui inde adstruit aut confirmat historiam de Johanne Papissa, quae quidem hic occurrit inter Leonem et Benedictum, rectene an secus uideant alii.  Certe credidit Edv. Browne:

                                            Sed non ego credulus illi.

Contents :

I.          De mundi creacione disposicione et ornacione Inc. liber              .         f.    4 (1)

Cum uniuscuiusque rei principium eius pars sit.

A note by Dr Liebermann gives the following account.  I

    slightly condense it.  See also Neues Archiv, IV 33.

“ff. 1-93, in several hands of the beginning or middle of cent. xiv.

    Excerpts from Gervasius Tilburiensis’ Otia Imperialia (ed.

    Leibnitz, Scriptt. Rer. Brunsvic. I): or rather the greater part

    of G.’s text transcribed verbatim but in a very different order.

The prologue of G. occurs here at the end.  There is no table

    of contents, but the rubrics of the chapters are generally


The first Distinctio of Gervase ends at f. 36 [really 12b: aeris

    desiccacionem iam ceptam].

The second is thus headed :

Inc. liber qui dicitur mappa mundi     .               .               .               .               37 (13)

Nominaciones et diuisiones terrarum et orbis.

This title properly applies only to a part of Dist. II.

f. 35 = Leibnitz I 906: 36 = 907.  ff. 44, 58, 61, 71b, 72, 73, 77,

    78, 80, 89, 90, are taken (at least materially) from Gervase.

f. 80 verbatim = Gervase 972-3 (c. 35).

f. 89b, col. 2 = 931.

On f. 74b, where in the original the author speaks of himself,

    our MS. inserts after me, ‘Galfridum’ (sic): otherwise the

    text = Leibnitz 998.

On f. 73 he also cites Galfridus de Tilliberia, which citation is

    so clumsily inserted as to spoil the sense.

On f. 77 Willelmus Beroquer, the authority for an anecdote, is

    described as ‘postea unus de iusticiariis domini Henrici

    regis Anglie filii regis Iohannis.’

f. 90b          = Leibn. 942.

    92, col. I =          944.

    91            =          943.  But an original continuation of the

    history of the empire is added, ending with 1266, and alluding

    to Simon de Montfort’s rebellion as ‘hoc anno,’ and adding,

    of England, ‘que uix uel raro propter scisma erigetur in

    statum pristinum’ (92a).  This seems to show that our tract

    was composed before the end of Henry III’s reign.

The readings of this MS. agree rather more with those of the

    Canonici Geruasius (Bodl. Canon. Misc. 53) than with those

    of Vespasian E. IV.”

Ends f. 93 (69) b: qui auctor est humilitatis et pietatis per

    infinita seculorum secula.  Expl. mappa mundi.

II.        Chronica Martini Poloni.

Nomina romanorum pontificum         .               .               .               .               94 (70)

From Peter to Innocent IV, 1284, in the first hand: continued

    to 1352 and again to Urban VI, 1378 (in three hands).  At

    855, after Leo V, is Johannes; a marginal note (xiv) says :

    papissa non ponitur in cathologo pontificum.

Inc. cronica fratris Martini de pontificibus      .               .               .               95 (71)

Quoniam scire tempora

Dr Liebermann’s notes are as follows :

“f. 95.  The prologue mentions John XXI.  It therefore is

    Martin’s second edition (called in Mon. Germ. Hist. SS. XXII,

    Class C), which contains the ancient Roman history and the

    story of Pope Joan.  At the end (f. 120b, col. 2) there is the

    same addition as in the MS. called (l. c.) No. 8 (MG. p. 443+).

    The second hand continues, but only for the pontificate of

    Nichloas III : and this piece is repeated verbatim on ff. 121b,

col. 1-122a, col. 1 by a second hand, which comes down to

Clement V.  This part, although certainly connected with

the source of the Continuatio Romana (printed l. c.) and

sometimes agreeing with it verbatim, still seems to be a

different work, most likely unprinted.

A hand of the end of cent. xiv has added some short notices on

    f. 123b and brings the history down to Urban V.”

f. 124 (100) is blank.

After it, a slip in the same hand as the List of Popes :

Nomina Imperatorum from Octovianus to Frethericus II (1212).

    Continued in two hands to Ludouicus IV (1338): with some

    marginal notes.

Inc. cronica fratris Martini de Imperatoribus   .               .               .               125 (101)

Post natiuitatem d. n. I. C.  octouianus augustus imperauit

    annos xiiii.

Dr Liebermann continues :

“The beginning and end of this again agree exactly with

    Codex 8.

Text ends 146 (14)b, col. I, 1. 5 :

in domo fratrum ordinis b. marie de monte carmeli est defunctus.

“There is a short but interesting continuation to Pseudo-

    Frederick II in the same hand :

Et in eodem portu multe naues et uasa naualia propter elaciones

    maris terribiles incurrerunt naufragium.

Ends with paragraph on Pseudo-Frederick :

Anno gracie mo cc lxxxo iiiito cum per xxxii annos et amplius

    sedes imperialis uacasset apparuit in Alemannia Frethericus

    de quo superius mencio facta fuit imperialem uendicans

    dignitatem non sine admiracione multorum hunc dicencium

    antichristum pro eo quod ante mortuus putabatur.  Ille uero

    se fuisse Imperatorem argumento uisibili comprobauit narrans

    quomodo per supradicta tempora iacuisset in habitu peregrino

    agens penitenciam per consilium patris patrum.

“The writer apparently believes in this impostor, and the

    passage therefore would seem to have been written before

    it was known that the false Frederick had been burned as

    a heretic.

ff. 147, 148 deal with the pontificate of Martin IV.  This piece is

    nothing but the end of the Continuatio Romana Pontificum.”

These leaves, 147, 148 (122-3), are in a later hand.

Temopore Martini pape III a. d. m. cco lxxxi. quadam die

    dominica per quendam latinum de familia regis

      - misericorditer a deo largiuntur.  Et qui scripsit hec uidit ea.

ff. 149-151 (124-126) blank.

III.       Cent. xiii late? : double columns of 39 lines.

Ici comence la petite philosophie      .               .               .               .               152 (127)

                Li  sages ki iadis esteient

                De moult grant sen sentremetteient.

Ends f. 169 (144) :

                U li beneiz serront sanz nul degrez

                Treis en persones et un en maiestez.  Amen.

In the tract previously cited M. Paul Meyer gives an account

    of this poem and prints ll. 1-184 and about 32 lines at the

    end with variants from the MS. Dd. 10. 31 in the University

    Library; another copy is in MS. Gg. 6. 28, and a fragment

    in Bodley MS. Douce 210.  The poem was previously un-

    described (Meyer, 1. c., pp. 336-340).

On 169b, in a hand of cent. xiv late, is :

Nomina Regum Christianorum in Anglia.

Saxonum. Yne.  xxxvii annos.

The first hand ends with Edward III.  Richard II has been


Recapitulacio terre sancte et descripcio eiusdem           .               .               170 ( 145)

Le apostoille de Rome Innocent uout sauoir

      -e les custoumes de la terre des sarazins.

Ed. from a Brussels MS. by K. Hopf, Chroniques Greco-romanes,

    Berlin, 1873, 30-34.  Meyer, l. c., p. 340.

In another hand :

Recapitulacio Rome et descripcio eiusdem      .               .               .               172 (147)b

Quoniam huius splendide urbis pulcritudinem sedule cogitans

      -unde ergo lacrimabiliter legimus ab antiquis cercius

        audiui in quantum potui curaui.

De sepulcro Romuli.  In dalmacia est sepulcrum Romuli quod

    uocatur meta.

Ends, after a section on ‘Equi marmorei,’ with description of

    13 Regions

      -continet pedes xxxiiii .m.

Expl. mirabilia mundi.

Manuscript extra information

Negative microfilm in St John's College Library.

This MS. appears in an auction sale catalogue of 1687.  Dd.9.1013, p. 83, no. 49, Earl of Ailesbury's Library.

C. de Hamel, 'The Medieval manuscripts of Syon Abbey, and their dispersal', Syon Abbey (Roxburghe Club, 1991).

Charles Garton, 'A Fifteenth Century Headmaster's Library', Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 15 (1980), 29-37.  Copy in St John's College Library.

K. V. Sinclair, French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages (Westport, Conn., 1979).

Monumenta Germaniae Historiae 24, 251.

Monumenta Germaniae Historiae 30, 708.

A. M. Bouly de Lesdian, 'III Section Romane.  Les Manuscrits Didactiques Anterieurs au XIVe Siècle Essai D'inventaire', Institut de Recherche et D'Histoire des Textes 13 (1964-65).

William Hilliard Trethewey (ed.), La Petite Philosophy: an Anglo-Norman poem of the thirteenth century (Oxford, 1939).

Wolfgang-Valentin Ikas, Martin von Troppau (Martinus Polonus), O.P. (d. 1278) in England: Überlieferungs- und wirkungsgeschichtliche Studien zu dessen Papst- und Kaiserchronik, Wissensliteratur in Mittelalter 40 (Wiesbaden : L. Reichert, 2002) pp. 40, 59, 66, 80, 107-112, 115-122, 152, 155, 172-174, 176, 264.